Ponca City Middle School Students Make An Anti-bullying Pledge
Ponca City Now - November 15, 2013 9:12 am
Students at East Middle School sat quietly for almost two hours in the East Auditorium.
Kirk Smalley spoke to them about the seriousness of bullying and his hope to end it forever.
Smalley, a Dad from Perkins, Okla. came to Ponca City to tell students about the suicide of his 11-year-old son, Ty, and about the years of bullying that drove his smiling, playful-spirited boy to opt out of his life.
As a result of this unimaginable event, the Smalleys have formed the “Stand For the Silent” organization to stop bullying.
This is Mr. Smalley’s second trip to Ponca City, he spoke to West Middle School students two years ago.
Smalley’s memorable assembly has chairs sit up on the stage with pictures of children from around the world who have committed suicide after being bullied.
“It’s not true that there are always warning signs, such as depression,” Smalley told the students, saying that Ty wasn’t depressed a day in his life. “What is true is that one in four school-age kids have not only thought about killing themselves, but have made an actual suicide plan.”
He told the story of one 6-year-old girl who didn’t want to go to school on the last few days of kindergarten because a 5-year-old boy told her he was going to bring a gun to school and kill her.
She never told her parents that, but told her mom she would get her dad’s deer gun down off the shelf and kill herself rather than have to go to school.
When Smalley asked how many students had been bullied, almost the entire auditorium raised their hands.
He told them he loved the.
He asked how many students were bullies.
Not a lot of hands went up, but Smalley told them he loved them too.
“I totally understand that nobodies willing to admit they’re doing the bullying, but you are the only ones who can stop bullying,” Smalley said. “A kid is bullied every seven seconds.Think about that the next time you see it happen.You’ve got to stand up and support those kids.We’ve got to make that number go away!”
He urged students to show respect for others, and to be the one with the courage to stand up to friends who laugh at kids, to be different – to befriend the new kid or the odd kid who barely has any friends, the kid who gets picked on.
“You can change somebody’s life, be somebody’s hero,” Smalley said. “You have to be the one to stop it.”
The Smalleys were invited to the White House to participate in an anti-bullying conference.
He got to have about 20 minutes with the President and First Lady Michelle Obama.
He described reaching into his pocket to get one of his SFTS bracelets, causing two Secret Service agents to fly across the room.
Michelle Obama put up her elbow in between them and said, “I’ve got this one.”
Now Smalley’s wife tells everyone he was saved by a girl.
Following Smalley’s presentation, East Middle School students stood and recited an anti-bullying pledge.
They were also invited to ‘Stand For The Silent’ by visiting www.standforthesilent.org or the Stand For The Silent Facebook page.
“ From this day forward, I promise to respect those around me as well as respect myself. I AM SOMEBODY, and I can make a difference. I can make another feel loved. I can be the helping hand that leads another back to a path of hope and aspiration. I WILL NOT STAND SILENT as others try to spread hatred through my community. Instead, I pledge to lift up these victims and show them that their lives matter. I will be the change because I AM SOMEBODY.”
Smalley’s message addresses the issue of school bullying with an engaging, factual and emotional methodology.
Through the efforts of Smalley and SFTS director, Francie Moss, students are shown first-hand the life and death consequences of bullying.
The goal of the program is to start a SFTS chapter at each participating site.
Each chapter consists of a group of students committed to change.
These students will no longer stand for one in four of their peers to suffer at the hands of a bully.
Pledge cards are given to those who agree to stand for the silent.
The pledge speaks of respect and love…hope and aspiration.
Above all, it illustrates the main lesson taught through the SFTS program: I AM SOMEBODY!
With requests for speaking engagements from more than 23 states and six countries, Kirk Smalley has talked to over 100,000 students in more than 100 schools.
He has counseled with the President and First Lady, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice and numerous other organizations.
He is booked for the next year to speak all over the world.